Former President Donald Trump was mostly disciplined in interviews Wednesday, heaping praise on the late conservative radio icon Rush Limbaugh while keeping tight-lipped about his plans.
In his first public remarks since leaving office Jan. 20, Trump, in interviews with Fox News, Newsmax, and One America News Network, mostly passed up chances to talk up a 2024 presidential bid.
Asked by Fox News host Sean Hannity if he planned to run for president again, Trump demurred but pointed to a deep well of approval among Republican voters.
“I won’t say yet, but we have tremendous support,” the former president said, appearing on the network for the second time that day. “I’m the only guy who gets impeached, and my numbers go up.”
It’s unclear at this point whether Trump’s focus on Limbaugh, who died Wednesday after a long battle with lung cancer, is part of a concerted comeback strategy. Polls show Trump topping potential rivals for the 2024 Republican nomination. Grabbing the mantle again would likely mean a rematch against President Biden, who won the 2020 election with 306 electoral votes to 232 for Trump.
Since leaving office Trump has largely demurred from the spotlight, occasionally seen playing golf near his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.
Among Republicans, Trump’s approval rating trended upwards following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot that sparked his impeachment, despite broad condemnation from GOP leaders for his failure to call his supporters off.
Fifty-nine percent of Republican voters said they want Trump to play a significant role in the party in the future, according to a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult/Politico. This is an increase of 9 percentage points since Jan. 25, before Trump was impeached and acquitted on a charge of incitement of insurrection, and an 18 percentage point jump from Jan. 7, a day after pro-Trump supporters stormed Congress.
Trump said he hoped to get to the bottom of his growing popularity.
No longer on Twitter, Trump declined to say whether he planned to return to social media, if on different platforms.
“We’re looking at a lot of different things,” he said.
Trump told Newsmax host Greg Kelly Wednesday that he was done with Twitter, which removed him from the platform on Jan. 8. He called the network “boring” and said he was “harassed” on it.
He criticized both President Biden and Republican leaders, calling Biden’s Tuesday night town hall “a disgrace” and slamming Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“The Republicans are soft: they only hit their own,” Trump said. “Like Mitch.”
In an interview with OANN, Trump praised Limbaugh, an early supporter, as knowing “early what was happening with the whole MAGA movement, if you want to call it that, and it turned out he was a great friend and a great ally.”
Asked earlier in the day if he missed being president, Trump said quickly, “I do.”